UAW Gets Job Security Guarantees In GM Deal

Friday, September 28th 2007, 2:34 pm
By: News On 6

DETROIT (AP) _ General Motors Corp. will put $29.9 billion into a fund for retiree health care and guarantee that cars and trucks will be built at 16 U.S. plants as part of its tentative contract agreement with the United Auto Workers, according to a summary of the agreement released Friday by the union.

GM will pay an additional $5.4 billion to fund retiree health care while the UAW is setting up the health care trust. The formation of the trust, called a Voluntary Employees Beneficiary Association, or VEBA, was a major part of this year's contract agreement.

Under the tentative contract, 3,000 temporary workers will get permanent jobs at the full-time wage rate. There also is a moratorium on outsourcing, or hiring outsiders to do work GM employees traditionally do.

Hourly workers will get economic gains totaling $13,056 over the life of the four-year contract, the UAW said.

The tentative contract passed a hurdle earlier Friday when local UAW officials from across the U.S. approved the pact.

UAW President Ron Gettelfinger said they will now take the pact to the 74,000-strong membership for a vote.

Gettelfinger said at a news conference that the vote would wrap up and be counted by Oct. 10.

He said he expects it to pass, although some members have concerns about its terms.

Gettelfinger also said the union had not yet picked the automaker _ Ford Motor Co. or Chrysler LLC _ with which it would bargain next.

If the company's UAW members ratify the deal, its provisions likely will save the company about $3 billion per year, which it can pump into the development of new products, according to several industry analysts.

The contract also includes lower wages for some new hires and offers early retirement and buyout packages to entice higher-paid workers out of those positions.

GM made commitments to build current or future cars and trucks at 16 factories nationwide.

Details of the deal thrilled Dave Green, president of one of two local unions at the Lordstown, Ohio, assembly complex, because GM committed to build a new small car for global distribution at his plant.

``The whole thing looks fantastic,'' he said.

The agreement, he said, preserves wages and health care for active workers ``and we've done creative stuff that's going to make the company profitable in North America.''

GM shares rose 74 cents, or 2 percent, to $37.20 in afternoon trading Friday.